Canadian Ambassador to China Fired Over Controversial Remarks
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday fired his country’s ambassador to China after a week of controversy over statements the ambassador made about extradition of a Chinese citizen to the United States.
Trudeau announced in a statement that he had asked for and accepted the resignation of John McCallum, without specifying the reason for McCallum’s exit.
McCallum made headlines on Tuesday when he discussed the high-profile extradition case of Chinese citizen Meng Wanzhou, arrested in December in Vancouver, to the United States. He reportedly discussed several legal arguments Meng could use to fight extradition.
Two days later, he apologized for the remarks, saying he “misspoke” when he discussed that case. But on Friday, he reportedly added that it would be “great for Canada” if the United States dropped the case.
Meng is the chief financial officer of the Huawei telecom company and is accused of facilitating business deals that violated U.S. sanctions against Iran.
2 Canadians arrested
Soon after Meng’s Dec. 1 arrest, China arrested two Canadian citizens on allegations they had endangered China’s national security. Canada has called those arrests arbitrary.
Trudeau said earlier in the week that firing McCallum would not help the two Canadians in Chinese custody. But by Saturday, he had reversed his position.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer tweeted criticism of the prime minister Saturday, saying Trudeau had waited too long and should have fired the ambassador “the moment he interfered in this case.”